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Decorate like the ancients with boughs and garlands of evergreen and holly

I admit it, I’m a tree lover. I’ve written poetry and short stories about trees and have an ongoing crush with a gorgeous river birch tree in my backyard. I feel confident that several of my past lives were spent as part of a Druid community and trees hold a special place in my heart.

At this time of year, one of my favorite sights and smells of the holiday season in the home is the greenery. Ancient cultures have celebrated bringing in the green for thousands of years, adorning their homes with evergreen branches and boughs and adding a little mistletoe to keep the season merry and bright.

I’m known for my tree decorating skills and have an elaborate seven stage decorating ritual for my Christmas trees. Yes, I said trees, as I’m known to have several around the home each year.  With all that I love during the holidays, there’s one aspect to tree decorating that I’ve never been comfortable with, which is the tradition popularized in the Victorian age of chopping down a living tree and bringing it into the home.

I can acknowledge that the look and sentiment is endearing, but in our current time, I think perhaps it’s time to be more conscious of the fact that we are chopping down trees, (which provide oxygen when rooted in the ground) to be used for two weeks in our home and then discarded. In this age of pollution and toxins, maybe we can find a better way to bring the spirit and significance of evergreens into our homes.

If you are open to this sentiment, here are some ideas I’ve explored that you may enjoy as well:

  1. In ancient cultures, greenery was brought into the home in evergreen swags, boughs and garlands, which were placed above doors and around the home. I love the look as it used today on fireplace mantels, stair rails, and in wreaths and swags hanging from windows and doors.  Using green cuttings and branches as garland and wreaths, allow the tree to continue to live while only removing a few branches.
  2. Artificial Christmas trees have come a long way and are beautiful, very life like and can be used over again each year, saving both the forest and your budget. An added bonus is that the trees do not have to be watered, and they don’t dry out creating a potential fire hazard in your home. For those who love the ‘christmas tree smell’, the live evergreen branches on the mantle, wreath and around your home provide this beautiful scent.
  3. Consider wreaths made from herbs, which can be used in cooking after the holiday season. One of my favorites is from Williams-Sonoma, the ‘Cooks Herb Wreath’, which contains rosemary, sage, bay leaf, oregano and other herbs. Not only are the wreaths beautiful and exude an aromatic scent through the home, they make wonderful gifts. Nothing says an old fashioned Christmas than plucking bay leaves from the wreath hanging on the wall to throw into your recipe.
  4. I believe I’ve found the perfect compromise to satisfy those who wish to preserve trees and help the earth and those who love real christmas trees in their home. This year I wanted to bring in the energy of a living tree as a second tree for the holidays, so I purchased a live European Cypress tree from ProFlowers, which arrived in a red pot and included a mini string of colored lights and tiny wood ornaments. The tree come with instructions of how to care for it during the winter and in the spring, it can be removed from the pot and planted in the ground. My husband loved it and this spring we look forward to planting the tree in our backyard. We plan to continue this tradition each year, creating a forest of trees in our backyard, which will contain the many memories of our holidays over the years.  It’s the perfect sentiment for our family and each tree will carry the memories of the holiday spent in our home while continuing its life for many years to come on our land.  We look forward to the day when the young trees planted each year mature and can be decorated outside in the traditions of the ancients. It feels as though we’ve come full circle, it’s good for us, good for the trees and good for the earth.

Enjoy decking your halls with boughs of holly and perhaps creating a nourishing new holiday tradition for your family with a live tree which you plant in the spring.  Read about my other recommended 7 Sentimental Gifts for the Holiday Season.

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Enjoyed this article? Kala welcomes your comments and reads them all. Don’t miss a thing! Subscribe by clicking the button at the top right corner of this article. By doing so, you’ll receive e-mail updates every time a new article by Kala Ambrose is posted – and it’s free! To read archived articles by Kala Ambrose, visit her main page at the National Haunted History Examiner and the National Metaphysical Spirituality Examiner.

More about Kala Ambrose: Kala Ambrose is an award winning author, intuitive and talk show host of the Explore Your Spirit with Kala Show. Her thought-provoking interviews entice listeners to tune in around the globe! Described by her guests and listeners as discerning, empowering and inspiring, she speaks with world renowned authors, artists, teachers and researchers delving into metaphysical, holistic and paranormal topics. Kala’s book, 9 Life Altering Lessons: Secrets of the Mystery Schools Unveiled delves into the mysteries of ancient Egyptian mystery schools and explains their wisdom teachings. Kala Ambrose is a highly interactive teacher on a mission to educate, entertain and inspire. She lectures on the Ancient Wisdom Teachings of Egypt and the Mystery Schools, Working with Auras, Chakras and Energy Fields, and Wise Woman Wisdom.

About the Author

Kala Ambrose is "Your Travel Guide to the Other Side". As an award winning author, national columnist, inspirational speaker, and host of the Explore Your Spirit with Kala Show, Kala Ambrose's teachings are described as discerning, empowering and inspiring. Whether she’s speaking with world-renowned experts on the Explore Your Spirit with Kala Show, writing about empowering lifestyle choices or teaching to groups around the country, fans around the world tune in daily for her inspirational musings and lively thought-provoking conversations. A highly interactive teacher on a mission to educate, entertain and inspire, Kala teaches and writes about ancient wisdom teachings and how their techniques can be used in modern day living. Her books, The Awakened Aura: Experiencing the Evolution of Your Energy Body and 9 Life Altering Lessons: Secrets of the Mystery Schools Unveiled both cover these topics. In addition, Kala shares her love of history, travel and the spirit world in her books Spirits of New Orleans and Ghosthunting North Carolina. Her books are designed to explore the history of cities in an entertaining manner while sharing haunted stories and offering travel tips on how to best see the cities to shop, dine, stay, and visit the haunted sites. Kala writes for the Huffington Post, the Examiner, AOL, Yahoo and Fate Magazine and presents workshops nationally on the Mind/Body/Spirit connection including Auras and Energy Fields, Developing Entrepreneur Intuition, Haunted History, and Wisdom Teachings at the Omega Institute, John Edward Presents Infinite Quest, Edgar Cayce's ARE, the Learning Annex, LilyDale Assembly, Daily Om and her school, the Academy of Mystical Arts & Spiritual Sciences.

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